ATK Kids

Kitchen Classroom: Week 6

Week 6 of resources to help kids learn in the kitchen—and make something delicious along the way.

Published Apr. 17, 2020.

Welcome to week 6 of Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a daily schedule of kid-tested and kid-approved recipes and hands-on experiments and activities. Which recipes, experiments, and activities have you and your family tackled so far? 

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This week, we’re baking Blondies for a sweet treat, learning how our senses of smell and taste work together in a simple science experiment, eating tacos for breakfast, and snacking on homemade Kale Chips and Tomato-Mozzarella Bites.

Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #atk kids on Instagram, or by sending photos to Visit the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content designed especially for kids, plus all of the Kitchen Classroom content in one easy-to-scan location. 

Here’s what’s cooking for the week of April 20th through 26th.  

BlondiesTomato and Mozzarella BitesThe Nose Knows
From left: Blondies, Tomato and Mozzarella Bites, The Nose Knows

Monday, April 20 — Blondies

Originally published in My First Cookbook and designed for young chefs ages 5 to 8, these  Blondies make a perfect sweet ending to this week’s lunches and dinners. James, one of our 6-year-old recipe testers, has some advice around where to snack on your Blondies: “Eat them in the sun so the chocolate melts a little bit!”

What You’ll Need
Vegetable oil spray
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup pecans, chopped
½ cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips

Learning Moment
Math (Addition & Subtraction):
While the Blondies bake, have your young chefs tackle a few math problems all about making (and eating) this recipe:

  • This recipe makes 16 Blondies. If you eat 2 Blondies every day, how many days will this batch of Blondies last?
  • Imagine you bring your Blondies to a bake sale and charge customers $0.50 for 1 Blondie. If you sell all 16 Blondies, how much money will you earn?
  • One Blondie recipe uses ½ cup of chocolate chips. If you wanted to make this recipe 5 times, how many cups of chocolate chips would you need in total?


Tuesday, April 21 — Tomato and Mozzarella Bites

Tomato, mozzarella, and basil are a classic flavor combination. Use baby mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes on a longer toothpick or skewer to make a snack-friendly version of Caprese salad. It’s easy to scale this recipe up (or down) depending on how many people are snacking. If you can’t find baby mozzarella balls, cut larger balls of fresh mozzarella into ¾-inch chunks.

What You’ll Need
8 grape or cherry tomatoes
8 baby mozzarella balls
1 tablespoon extra-­virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
8 fresh small basil leaves

Learning Moment
Math (Patterns): 
Option 1: This recipe directs kids to order the components of their toothpicks as first a half a cherry tomato, then a basil leaf, then a baby mozzarella ball, and then the second half of a cherry tomato. Challenge your young chef to see how many different ways they can arrange those four components on a toothpick. 

Option 2: If there’s an older kid in the house (think middle school), challenge them to find out how many possible combinations of the four components (2 tomato halves, mozzarella ball, basil leaf) there are. They can do this using what’s called a factorial function. It looks like this: “4!” The number 4 indicates how many components you have and the exclamation point indications that it’s a factorial, meaning you multiply all the whole numbers from the chosen number down to one. So, 4! = 4 x 3 x 2 x 1. In this case, there are 24 possible combinations.

Take It Further
Social Studies (World Culture):
Caprese salad (tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil) is a classic Italian dish: the red, white, and green colors of salad purposely match the red, white, and green colors of the Italian flag. That’s not the only flag-inspired Italian food. The Insalata Tricolore (tomato, mozzarella, and avocado) and Pizza Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, and basil) also celebrate the three Italian flag colors. (Learn more in this article from National Public Radio.) Challenge kids to choose a flag from another country and invent a new snack based on the colors or designs on that flag. This Time for Kids article is a good place to get them started.


Wednesday, April 22 — The Nose Knows

In this super simple science experiment, kids (and grown-ups) will discover the powerful connection between their sense of smell and the perception of food’s flavor . . . using jelly beans! This is a fun activity for the whole family to do together; try it after lunch or dinner or as a quick afternoon science break. One pro tip: When the America’s Test Kitchen Kids team tested this experiment, we found the best results with the intense flavors of Jelly Belly brand jelly beans, but other brands will work, too.

What You’ll Need
1 bag jelly beans (preferably Jelly Belly brand)

Learning Moment
Science (Biology):
Our sense of smell plays a bigger role in how we experience the flavor of food than most of us—both kids and grown-ups—typically realize. It turns out, the tastebuds in our mouths can only pick up on the five tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. All of the other aspects of food’s flavor, such as fruity, buttery, nutty, floral, chocolaty flavors, come from our sense of smell! The “Food for Thought” section at the bottom of the experiment page breaks down this fascinating sensory science (the study of our five senses) for kids.


Breakfast Tacos with BaconKale ChipsCinnamon Rolls
From left: Breakfast Tacos with Bacon, Kale Chips, Cinnamon Rolls

Thursday, April 23 — Breakfast Tacos with Bacon

These tacos are a tasty and filling way to start—or end—the day (we’re big fans of breakfast for dinner!). Sauteed bacon and scallions flavor the scrambled eggs, and then kids can add toppings to their tacos, such as Monterey Jack cheese, salsa, and a squeeze of lime. This recipe is also flexible: Swap the Monterey Jack for cheddar, if you like, skip the bacon to make it vegetarian, and both flour and corn tortillas are equally delicious!

What You’ll Need
4 large eggs
⅛ teaspoon salt
Pinch pepper
1 slice bacon
1 scallion, sliced thin
4 (6-inch) flour or corn tortillas
½ cup tomato salsa (jarred or homemade)
¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 lime, cut into wedges

Learning Moment
Math (Division; Fractions):
Step 6 of this recipe asks kids to divide the scrambled eggs among the warm tortillas. Ask kids: “What could you do to make sure the eggs are evenly divided among our tortillas?” (This recipe serves 2 to 4, so kids might be dividing among two, three, or four tortillas.) If they need a little guidance, encourage kids to use their rubber spatula to divide the roughly circular scrambled eggs in the pan in half (if serving 2), thirds (if serving 3), or fourths (if serving 4). Then, they can scoop an equal amount of eggs into each tortilla.

Take It Further
Social Studies (World Cultures):
This taco recipe calls for either corn or flour tortillas. Kids can learn and explore how each type of tortilla is made!

Corn tortillas are made with a special kind of corn flour, called masa harina, that’s been made in Mexico for thousands of years. To make masa harina, dried corn soaks in a mixture of hot water and a chemical called calcium hydroxide before it’s dried again and ground into masa harina. This process is called nixtamalization (“niks-ta-MAL-ih-ZAY-shun”) and it gives corn tortillas their signature toasty corn flavor. Kids can watch this video to see how corn tortillas are made in a factory and this video shows them being made by hand. If you’re up for it, you can even use our DIY Corn Tortillas recipe to make your own at home. 

Wheat flour is the main ingredient in flour tortillas, which also typically include vegetable shortening or lard, too. While corn tortillas are pressed into its round shape, flour tortillas are rolled into a circle using a rolling pin. In general, flour tortillas are more flexible than corn tortillas and are often larger, too.

Corn tortillas are typically used to make tacos, enchiladas, and tortilla chips, while you’ll often see flour tortillas used for burritos and quesadillas. If you have access to both kinds of tortillas at your local grocery store, we encourage you to do a taste test at home!


Friday, April 24 — Kale Chips

Potatoes aren’t the only vegetable that makes delicious crunchy chips. Kale chips are a great way to eat this super healthy veggie, and these easy-to-make chips slowly crisp and dehydrate in the oven (no frying required). Plus, kids can choose their kale chips’ flavor: plain (with salt), ranch, or sesame-ginger.

Lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan or dinosaur kale) produces the best chips, but curly leaf kale will also work (baby kale won’t). No matter what kind of kale you’re using, make sure the leaves are completely dry before you add the oil and bake them. 

What You’ll Need
4 ounces Lacinato kale (or curly kale)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Learning Moment
Science (physics) and Math (measurement):
It’s important to wash vegetables before cooking with them, and that’s especially true for greens like kale or lettuce, since they grow close to the ground and may still have soil clinging to their leaves and stems. One of our favorite tools for washing and drying greens is a salad spinner. A salad spinner works by spinning the leaves really, really quickly, like a superfast merry-go-ground or a washing machine. As the leaves spin, the water is pushed off of the leaves and towards the walls of the salad spinner by what’s called a centripetal force.

Kids can see this centripetal force in action in step 3 of this recipe. Before they start spinning their wet kale leaves, ask kids to make a prediction: How much water do they think the salad spinner will pull off of the kale leaves? Let kids dry the leaves with the salad spinner, pull out the basket with the dried kale, and pour the water remaining in the salad spinner into a liquid measuring cup. Encourage kids to make observations by asking:

  • How close was their prediction?
  • Are they surprised by how much water the centripetal force pushed off of the kale?
  • How dry does the kale feel now compared to when it went into the salad spinner?
  • Can kids think of other times when they have felt centripetal force in action (like on a carnival ride or roller coaster, going around a sharp corner in a car, or when holding hands and spinning with a friend)?

Take It Further
Arts (Visual Art); Science (Botany):
Kale is an example of a leaf we can eat! Leaves are an important part of any plant; they collect light and turn it into food for the plant in a process called photosynthesis. Most leaves have a flat part called a blade, a stem called a petiole that attaches it to the plant, and veins that carry water and food to and from the plant. One way to see all of these detailed parts of a leaf is to do a leaf rubbing! You’ll need plain paper and some crayons for this activity. Save one leaf of kale from your bunch and use it to do an impression rubbing (see this video for how to do it). Can you see all of the parts of the leaf in your rubbing? You can also take a “leaf walk” in your backyard, in your neighborhood, or in a park to collect more leaves for rubbings. How many different kinds of leaves can you find? Can you tell what plant or tree your leaf is from? (This website can help!) Once you’ve made your rubbings, you can cut them out to make a collage or a card for someone you love!


Saturday & Sunday, April 25 - 26 — Cinnamon Rolls

Having warm, gooey cinnamon rolls for brunch is one of the best ways to start a weekend day, in our opinion. Kids can watch the dough rise (and recall what they learned in The Inflatable Science of Yeast, last week) and then practice their measurement skills as they shape and roll the dough into individual cinnamon rolls. 

What You’ll Need
2¼ cups (11¼ ounces) all-­purpose flour, plus extra for counter
3 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
½ cup (4 ounces) room-­temperature water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg
Vegetable oil spray
¾ cup packed (5¼ ounces) light brown sugar
1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
2 teaspoons milk

Learning Moment
Math (Measurement):
In step 7 of this recipe, kids will need to first shape the cinnamon roll dough into a 16-by-8-inch rectangle and then cut the dough into 2-inch-wide strips. This is a real-world opportunity for them to practice using a ruler. Remind kids to line up the “0” on the ruler with the edge of their dough, hold the ruler horizontal and level, and help them to understand what the numbers and different lengths of tick marks on the ruler mean (the longest ones mark an inch, the next longest mark half inches, then quarter inches, and so on).


The Young Chefs' Club

On sale until April 30, 2020, the May edition of the Young Chefs' Club subscription box is all about VEGETABLES! From recipes that highlight the savory (and sweet) sides of veggies to activities where kids can grow (and regrow) their own veggies to a fun "Veggie Match" card game for the whole family, this box will help kids look at—and eat!—their vegetables in new ways.   
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